By Mary Klaus on Jan 08, 2013
Four Pennsylvania Farm Show champions with a market value of $2,234.60 sold for more than 10 times that amount during the Sale of Champions that highlighted the fourth day of the agricultural exposition.
Although no records were broken at the sale that culminates a year of hard work by the young exhibitors, all seemed pleased with the winning bids.
The sale of the four champions, the reserve champions and all the junior market swine, lambs, goats and steers turned the Small Arena into a delightful place with grunting and baaing animals, a chanting auctioneer and enthusiastic buyers waiting to bid. Farm Show buyers traditionally pay substantially more than market price for the grand champion animals.
The sale began with the singing of the national anthem and welcoming comments from Fred Rudy, announcer. With his cowboy hat and confident manner, Harry Bachman looked every inch the experienced auctioneer he is. Bachman told buyers that their purchases will fund the young exhibitors’ futures. As the Small Arena hummed with anticipation, the sale began.
Hayden Demniak of Carmichael entered the show ring with Eclipse, the Grand Champion Market Lamb. Demniak, 12, beat 267 other lambs for the second consecutive year for the honor. Five minutes later, his 159-pound crossbred lamb with a market value of $174.90 had sold for $5,000 to Bell & Evans.
Jake Ritenour of Acme came out next with Monster, a docile 91-pound boer goat with a deceptive name. Earlier in the show, Monster won Grand Champion Market Goat honors.
As the pair circled the ring, Ritenour, 15, thought of the goat he loves.
“I’ve had Monster since he was 2 months old,” he said. “He’s easy to work with and the best goat I ever had. I knew he was good, but I never expected to win.”
Ritenour, son of Lonnie and Jane Ritenour , said he has worked with club pigs, beef cattle and goats on his family’s 113-acre farm.
“I’ll use some of the money for more goats to show next year and the rest for my college fund,” he said. “I want to become a chemical engineer.”
Monster leaped up on Ritenour as if to say goodbye. New Holland Sales Stable bought him for $3,500.
Dexter, a 263-pound crossbred hog who had won Grand Champion Market Swine honors, came next led by Tee Pecora, 10, of Harrison City.
Earlier, Pecora described his hog as an animal who “is tame and likes to eat. To win, you have to feed him the right things so his body is shaped like the judge wants. You have to make his hair pretty too.” Pecora, who lives on a 130-acre farm, is a fourth generation farmer and a fourth grade student at McCullough Elementary School in Harrison City.
Hatfield Quality Meats and Giant Food paid $6,000 for Dexter, who has a market value of $157.80.
“When you buy livestock at a junior market animal sale, you’re supporting the future,” said Phil Clemens, Hatfield CEO. “Less and less people choose agriculture as a career. We buy hogs from the kids whether they win ribbons or not as a way of encouraging them to choose agriculture as a career.”
Finally, Samantha Fabian of Acme brought Beau, her Grand Champion Market Steer, into the ring. The shining black 1,330-pound crossbred steer moved easily for Fabian, 18, a fifth-year exhibitor. Within minutes, Bill Campbell, Hoss’ Steak and Sea House CEO, had paid $11,500 for Fabian’s steer.
Fabian, who earlier in the morning groomed Beau and said goodbye, seemed pleased at the price. Campbell, who has been buying champion Farm Show steers for decades, smiled too. “I just like to support the kids,” he said.